Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Giants turn to Barry Zito to Save Season

Down two games to one in the NLDS against the Reds, the Giants are turning to their most trusted pitcher, Barry Zito? OK, so maybe not their most trusted pitcher, but when you are 11-0 in any pitchers last 11 starts, superstition tends to get the best of you. What is surprising is that the Giants are leaving their formerly Ace baker, I mean pitcher, Tim Lincecum in the bullpen. Not that Timmy has been any good this year. Or has he?

Going off the basic counting stats, yes, Zito has been better with his 15-8 record, 4.15 ERA and 1.39 WHIP compared to Lincecum's 10-15, 5.18 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. But wins as a stat are overrated, and ERA is not completely within the pitchers control.  If you take the defense out with each pitchers xFIP, you get a brand new picture. Barry Zito, 4.92. Tim Lincecum, 3.82. Looks like someone was victimized a little bit this year by things he couldn't control.

Timmy posted the highest walk rate and lowest strikeout rate of his career this year. But, even while walking an extra batter per nine innings, his K/BB ratio is still better than that of Barry Zito (2.11, 1.63). Bruce Bochy though, will not be deterred,

"I think you have to look at what Barry's done, how we have played the last 11 games that he's pitched and he's really just done a terrific job for us," Bochy said. "He's won some big games. He's been really on top of his game, and I think he's earned this. We all do. I'm glad to be able to tell Barry that he's getting the start. When you win your last 11 games that a pitcher starts, it's a pretty good thing. So that's why he's getting the start." - CBS Sports
Bochy would go on to say that this is "more a case of rewarding Zito." Sorry Bruce, I'm not a huge fan of the "Rewarding Pitchers who have been completely unreliable for quite some time" line of thinking, especially with how right handed heavy the Reds lineup is.

The last time Barry Zito pitched in the postseason was in 2006 for the Oakland A's, he got shelled. The last time Tim Lincecum pitched in the postseason, he won the World Series clinching game. Not that that means anything, I just wouldn't put my season on the line with a pitcher who hasn't been trustworthy for some time.

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